Make-ahead salad: Tex-Mex or taco salad


On days when I know I’m going to be busy the last few hours before dinner — or on days when I’m not sure exactly when the hubs will get home, but I want to have dinner ready to go at a moment’s notice — I have several recipes that I can get all prepped earlier in the day, then throw together in a matter of minutes. A make-ahead salad is a great option.

This is one of them: call it taco salad, or Tex-Mex salad, or easy ensalada… it’s yummy in any language!

The first step is to chop the romaine. I use about 3/4 to one whole heart-of-romaine head for each person. And since I’m just prepping for two people, I go ahead and put the chopped romaine right into the bowls we’ll be eating out of. (I’m just showing one bowl here, but I make two. Cross your eyes if you want to see two.)

Next I whip up the salad dressing. This is easy-peasy!

I put a big plop of sour cream or Greek yogurt in a small mixing bowl, then add an approximately equal amount of salsa. I don’t measure it, I just eyeball it, but I’m guessing I probably use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of each. Then I add in a teaspoon or two of taco seasoning. (Try my recipe for sugar-free, gluten-free taco seasoning.) Stir it all together; you’re done!

Then all that’s left is to rinse and drain a can of black beans, slice some red onion nice and thin, and set out a small bowl of pepitas (de-hulled pumpkin seeds that have been roasted and salted). If you’re not watching carbs, you could use some tortilla chips, but I think the pepitas give a nice little crunch and saltiness while being a little healthier option.

I also take a couple of cooked chicken breasts and slice them up. Some days (if I’ve planned ahead), I’ll use chicken that I’ve roasted or grilled. Some days (if I don’t feel like so much cooking), I’ll pick up a couple roasted chicken breasts at the deli counter at the grocery store.

Then I cover the perishables with cling wrap and stick them in the fridge.

And when it’s time for dinner, pull everything out, pour some shredded cheddar-jack cheese in a bowl — or if you’re lazy like me, just set the package out — and each person can assemble their salad as they like.

Make-ahead salad: Tex-Mex fixin's

(The chicken was not present for picture day.)

Since this dressing is so thick, I like to put it on the greens first then turn it over a few times to coat all the leaves, just like you would a Caesar dressing.

Sorry; no pic of the finished salad. We were too hungry! Mmm-mm!


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  1. I just made this dressing for my salad (used greek yogurt) and WOW!! Very good, and I loved your taco seasoning too, quick and simple to make! <br />Thanks so much for the recipe!

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